Any film from 4-time (times two) Oscar winning directors Joel and Ethan Coen is sure to rouse feverish curiosity within the cinephile community. On that end, there’s good news and a long wait in store for what the auteur siblings have in store next. Their next film, and their seventeenth feature overall, has been set as the inside-Hollywood period comedy Hail, Caesar! headlined by George Clooney. It will be released by Universal Pictures, and produced by Working Title Films and the Coens’ Mike Zoss Productions. Today the film was given a release date of February 5, 2016. Mark your calendars film nerds, only 16 months away.
Hail, Caesar! stars Clooney as a 50s-era Hollywood fixer and follows his misadventures throughout a single day as he attempts to save face on a multitude of scandals during the waning days of the old studio system. The Coen Brothers, as per usual, not only will direct and produce but penned the original screenplay as well. The starry ensemble cast includes Channing Tatum (Foxcatcher), Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street), Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Scarlett Johansson (who co-starred in the Coens’ The Man Who Wasn’t There), Josh Brolin (who co-starred in the Coens’ 2007 Best Picture winner No Country for Old Men) and Tilda Swinton (who was featured in the Coen’s Burn After Reading.) Hail, Caesar! marks the fourth time Clooney has appeared in a Coen Brothers film following O Brother Where Art Thou (2000), for which the actor received a Golden Globe Award, Intolerable Cruelty (2003) and Burn After Reading (2008.)
With an alluring concept and a stacked ensemble cast, Hail, Caesar! looks to be one of the more interesting titles to look forward to in the coming years. The Coens previously skewered Hollywood with their 1991 satire Barton Fink, which won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival that year. Also, perhaps coincidentally, Clooney’s “fixer” character on paper has similar traits to that of his Oscar-nominated title character in the 2007 drama Michael Clayton.
What may seem a foolish question so far away is why Universal is dating the project for February, a month that’s typically a wasteland in the release date property game. Whether a case of skepticism for a film still in pre-production or not is still too early to tell. Or perhaps, Hail, Caesar! will join other critically lauded recent titles like Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects as films that bowed in the beginning months of the year.